NFL’s Washington Commanders Could Be Forced To Change Their Name Again After Trademark Dispute

Ron Rivera

Well, that was a fun year for the Washington Commanders while it lasted.

The team formerly known as the Washington Football Team and formerly, formerly known as the controversial team whose name started with an “R” thought they had settled into their new identity, but that might not actually be the case.

Now, the NFL team located in the nation’s capital could see their third name change in as many years after their trademark application for “Commanders” was denied.

Oh, those pesky trademark applications.

So what exactly is the issue after the team operated under the new name for this past season? Turns out the team was in somewhat of a “holding pattern” and was using the name in hopes that it would be cleared through the USPTO.

They unfortunately got some bad news back from the trademark office, which is detailed below in a Twitter thread from Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney.

Gerben states:

“The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has denied the trademark application for the NFL’s Washington Commanders.”


Getting into those two “legal speed bumps,” the first has to do with another sporting event already using the “Commanders” moniker:

“The Washington Commanders’ trademark was refused because of an existing registration for the ‘Commanders’ Classic.’

This is the name of a yearly college football game between the Air Force and Army teams.”

The other reason, which is the funnier of the two for those who were keeping score at home, is due to the fact that a fan of the team filed for trademarks back when they were changing from the “Football Team,” and threw out a couple of really good ideas:

“The second reason the Commanders’ trademark was refused was due to pending applications for:

-Washington Space Commanders

-Washington Wolf Commanders

The filings were made by Martin McCaulay, a DC-area man, who filed the trademarks trying to guess the new team name.”

The Space Commanders? The Wolf Commanders? Both of those are bada** and should definitely be considered if they are forced to switch things up. Shout out to Martin McCaulay for brainstorming those two and following through with the USPTO just so he could be a nuisance to the team.

Now, the options for the Washington Football Team (hey, that’s not a bad name, have they tried that?) are now to either:

-Argue that an NFL team would not be confused or conflict with one singular football game and file a response saying so.

-Buy out the rights of the name, or even settle for a co-existence agreement

Considering that Josh Harris is supposed to buy the team for a cool $6 billion dollars soon, I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem to fork over some extra moolah in order to claim the rights to the name “Commanders.”

What is money really, anyways?

With the scandal-ridden past of the Dan Snyder owned team, it might not be a bad thing for the Commanders to go forth with another name change for a real “fresh” start. Plus, it’ll force fans to shell out even more money for accurate and authentic merchandise.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock